Wines Pair Well with Food at Gunbarrel Tavern in Heavenly Village, South Lake Tahoe

Great wine selection
at Gunbarrell Tavern
If you wander over near Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe, plan to stop for dinner and wine at Gunbarrel Tavern .  Newly opened under the guidance of Alex Cox, Gunbarell’s chef Billy McCullough produces food that is so beautifully paired with the wine list that you’ll want to sample lots of both.

Pinot Grigio and Tuna Stack
I began with white wines, and enjoyed the 2012 Ruffino Pinot Grigio.   This is a smooth and fruity wine from Tuscany.  The aroma is clean and intense, with notes of flowers, pears and golden apple, and a hint of sage and mint.  Typical for a Pinot Grigio, it has minerality, yet the medium-body and structure shines through on the palate.  This lemony-sagey crisp wine was terrific with the tuna appetizer.  12 percent alcohol.  $7/glass.  $28/bottle.

My next white wine choice was a 2011 Sean Minor Chardonnay.  Kudos to Alex Cox for finding this winery; they produce wines in a cooperative production facility in Napa Valley and source their fruit from various family wine grape growers.  This Chardonnay features a lovely balance of ripe tropical fruit flavors and the classic crisp apple and minerality you expect from Central Coast vineyards and grapes.  It has an aroma of pear, apple and orange blossom, and a nice acidity with medium body that leads to flavor of apricot, green apple and toasty marmalade. 13.5 percent alcohol.  $8/glass.  $32/bottle.

My first choice from the red wine list was the 2011 Seghisio Zinfandel.  This particular vintage has rave reviews all over the internet!   With fruit sourced from Sonoma, this Zinfandel is spicy with lush flavor of black fruits and in particular raspberry.  It is balanced and elegant, with berry, mineral and toast nuances and good tannins. 14.8 percent alcohol.  $14/glass.  $48/bottle.

The value deal on the list is the 2009 Lange Twins Cabernet Sauvignon.  At $7/glass and $28/bottle,  I am hard pressed to recommend a California Cabernet that is so delicious and yet so reasonably priced!  The winemaker’s notes tell it succinctly:  “Concentrated aromas of vibrant ripe cherry with a trace of chocolate. The aroma mingles with flavors of fresh cherry and dark blackberry notes which are balanced by a mellow spice from nine months of oak barrel aging.”  13.9 percent alcohol.

The last red that I tasted is the 2010 Artesa Pinot Noir, Carneros Estate.  This is a nicely complex Pinot Noir, with flavor of raspberry, strawberry and black cherry.  The texture is indeed silky and intense, and there are hints of spices like vanilla, cedar and cinnamon to round out the palate.   14.4 percent alcohol.  $14/glass.  $48/bottle.

Gunbarrel Tavern & Eatery is located at 1001 Heavenly Village Way, #33/34, in South Lake Tahoe, CA.  Telephone 530-452-1460.

This review first appeared in my Wine Time column in The Tahoe Weekly on September 18, 2013.  For a look at the many interesting places to Wine in the Lake Tahoe area, plus a variety of wine reviews, click here to go to the Wine Time section of the Weekly's website.

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